Monday, 1 July 2013

There's nothing like the Great Australian Dream!

You know the drill, it's Monday and that means linking up with Kristy of My Home Truths for a little something I suggested....."My Best Experience Ever"...

There’s an old saying, ‘when you know, you just know’. I’ve run with that saying many times. The same with the old, ‘if it’s meant to be, it will be’. I’ve tried to apply that logic to all sorts of life situations, jobs, spontaneous nights out, travelling. Oh....except for relationships. That part simply, hasn’t meant to be just yet.

The application of this logic, intertwines with this weeks, “I must confess”. It’s about your best experience ever and well I can only say, ‘when you know, you just know.’ Usually, my best experiences involve travel to some place. I’d hop on a plane tomorrow if I could. Anyway, this post about my best experience ever, isn’t about travel.
I just knew the minute I saw this. It ticked every box. It wasn’t my first time though. I most certainly had done this before. Twice before, to be exact. It was extremely nerve-wracking but very satisfying. And of course, when it was all over, I was very proud.

I know you’re wondering what this best experience is all about. You may have thought this post was on a different track. Why, it’s buying my first place, of course.
I had bought a place with my brother. We went halves. It was quite old, however it was freedom, independence and an asset. This was back in 2004. I scrimped and saved and had to watch every last cent, but it was worth it. We painted, brought new blinds and renovated the bathroom. I was immensely proud.

True love intervened and my brother was off to get married. He brought me out and I moved back home for a while. About a year later, an opportunity came up to rent with a girlfriend and I jumped at it. Let’s face it, being 33 and back at home certainly wasn’t ‘living the dream’. Five months into renting, I jumped onto and came across a new complex of units not far from where I was living. I enquired and went out and had a look. There was one that took my fancy. Did I tell you it was BRAND NEW. Okay, this may have been the major drawcard. It’s funny though, there were a few things which bugged me. Dumb things really, like no window in the bathroom, no linen cupboard and the main bedroom had a small wardrobe. I was worried how I would fit all my things. Still I thought it would be perfect and a great investment. I put my deposit down and applied for a loan.
I guess it wasn’t meant to be. I wasn’t able to get lenders mortgage insurance as the bank thought the unit was overpriced. The builder’s report came back and there were a few things I just felt would be really big problems in about seven years time, ie. No expansion joints in the driveway. I pulled out of that unit. Lost my deposit. Looking back, it was a small price to pay.

I stopped the search for a while, couldn’t really be bothered to be honest. I am a bit of a local paper girl and always read it every week. My favourite bit is browsing the real estate section. I’m a dreamer, you know. Reading it one week, there was a unit which grabbed my eye. Open house was on the Saturday.
Saturday came and went and the social life took priority. Needless to say, I didn’t quite make the open house. The following week’s local paper showed the unit had another open house on the next weekend.

I remember looking at the pictures in the paper and thinking, “that’ll be perfect for me”. I went along and loved it. I knew it was for me. It’s sometimes the weirdest things that sell the apartment. The most important thing was a window in every room. And a linen cupboard and two big wardrobes. Yes, Yes and Yes!!! Not quite Carrie wardrobe style though Oh, it was renovated so I didn’t need to do a thing.
Long story short, I bought it. It’s been almost 2 years and I love my unit. My home, my bricks and mortar, my piece of the great Australian dream.

There’s nothing better than the feeling of owning your own place. Look really, the bank owns most of it, however you get the idea. At least when I don’t want to go to work, I know that every pay check gets me closer to owning it. It’s a good motivator. Alright, it’s better than good, it’s a brilliant motivator.
I know I’m lucky. Not everyone has this opportunity. Don’t get me wrong, I worked long and hard, working two jobs and sometimes three jobs to get it. I’m very thankful and grateful.

It’s the best experience because it’s something that’s truly mine. It represents my hard work, my piece of domestic bliss, my haven and most importantly, my space. Space to do what I like, when and how I like it.
So tell me, what does your home mean to you?

Jen xoxo

Monday, 24 June 2013

My Burgerlicious Booty!

I don’t mind winter all that much. I like to think it gives me an excuse to stay on the couch, drink hot chocolate and indulge in a bit of a carbo-overload. It got me thinking as to what my favourite food is. It’s not an easy question, in fact ,it’s damn hard!

I’m quite a foodie. You name it, I like it. Thai, Pizza, Italian, Chinese, Greek, Moroccan, Indian and Middle Eastern all rate quite highly. However, it may be the Aussie in me, but I keep coming back to the same thing. A burger and chips!! Simple, but oh sooooo delicious.
I must admit, I like my burgers with cheese, bacon and beetroot. Oh...and thick, homestyle chips are the best. So divine!!
I even try to tell myself they are healthy. Well.....they can’t be that bad now, can they? Sure they have some carbs, but there IS meat and salad. Cheese is calcium, although the only bit which may be in question is the bacon. Yeh, I’ll admit, that is the fatty bit, although if you cut the fat off then no problems, right?

I was recently in Hawaii and my ultimate favourite restaurant is Cheeseburgers in Paradise. The name says it all. Lots of burgerliciousness and well....Hawaii is paradise! I frequented there several times. I especially loved their sweet potato fries. I think I even started to develop a burgerlicious booty!!
But you know, my dribble is well and good, however the most important question needs to be asked....

Tell me about your favourite burger! Toppings, sauces and chips....
Where can you get the best burgers around??
Jen xoxo

Bad habits beware, can't help myself!

It’s an interesting topic this week. Talking about my bad habits. I’m sure if I lived with someone, they would be able to rattle off quite a list. However, given it’s just me, myself and I that live together, I’m claim to be somewhat blind to what you might call a bad habit. Why, well because it’s just me. What is a bad habit to one person, may not be to another. It’s weird like that. So, I’ll dig deep and see what I can come up with.
Of course, I’ve scratched the surface and have found a few. My top three bad habits complete with a life lesson and words of wisdom at the bottom. Enjoy:-

1)      Not making my bed in the morning

 I would love to be one of those super neat people, who manage to get everything done regardless of what is happening in their day. Reality check, it’s just not Jen! If you’ve been reading my blog, you’ll know that mornings are certainly not my best time of day. Making it to work on time is on most days, an absolute miracle. Or rather, a chaotic miracle. The fact that I am at work on time, is a miracle. However, actually getting to work on time results in a chaotic trail of mess and untidiness right through-out my apartment.

 It’s fair to say when the alarm goes off, I am very happy to snatch a few more minutes in bed. Especially on these cold mornings. When I make it to the shower, the hot water blasting down on me is so wonderful, I even stay there longer than I should. Sometimes, I manage to eat some porridge for breakfast. Sometimes, it’s a case of grabbing toast from a cafe as I am hurrying to the office. But every morning without fail, the bed doesn’t get made. I’m at the point where I’m not even apologising, it’s a fact and unless the domestic fairy is going to make it, this is one miracle that won’t happen.

 Although, it is weird that I am able to have time for a coffee every morning, isn’t it?

2)      Magazine mounds

I love magazines. I’m not even sure what it is about them that I love. I can’t resist a good headline, latest diet or celebs without make-up feature. There are regular ones I buy every month such as Super Food Ideas, Healthy Food Guide and Good Health. Love them. Only problem is, they do seem to stay around for quite a while. Yes, I can be somewhat reluctant to throw them out. I have this growing pile of magazines in the lounge room, on the dining table and in the study. It never quite gets completely out of control, but I’m sure it goes close.

3)      Not washing my hair

Now, this one may sound gross. But don’t just screw your nose up, just yet. There is a story here and it’s important to hear.
I don’t like washing my hair. It’s curly, so I get away with washing it only a few times a week (and that’s at a push). This isn’t something that’s developed from childhood. This came about because I lost over half my hair several years ago.
I was completing a uni degree part time, working full time, a part time fitness instructor on the side, going to the gym regularly and having a social life topped off with ensuring I gave my family some time as well. It was a recipe for burn out and that’s what happened.
I always had thick, gorgeous curls that were the envy of most girls. Especially when I was a teenager, perms were all the fashion and girls were spending a fortune to get what I had naturally. Everyone commented on my hair.
I was always driven and pushed myself quite hard. Too hard. I started to develop health issues and wasn’t listening to my body. I ignored signs of how I was feeling and pushed even harder. When I wasn’t listening to my body, it screamed at me even louder. As hair isn’t a critical function in the body, it diverts the nutrients to other areas where it’s more needed and hair misses out. My hair was falling out in handfuls and handfuls. As the handfuls of hair came out, the more I stressed, the more I stressed, the more handfuls that came out. I cried and cried, till there were no more tears to cry. I tried doctors, naturopaths, trichologists and dermatologists. I hide inside, learned how to wear hats and struggled to socialise. I lost alot of my confidence. The worst part was people. Some people were dreadful with their comments and remarks.
I began to hate washing my hair. I learnt by not washing it and very carefully combing it, I could minimise what would fall out. So that’s what I did.
To this day, I still struggle now to wash my hair. I even struggle to sit at the hairdresser. I can’t stand people touching my hair or playing with it.
It’s still getting there and slowing growing back. I hope that one day it will be back to the thick maine that I once had. It was a hard experience to go through, but it’s taught me alot. I’ve learnt to stop, breathe and relax. I’ve learnt that nothing is as important as I am and my health. I’ve learnt that taking time out to do what I love, is actually okay. In fact, it’s more than okay, it’s essential for me. I’m no good to anyone, if I haven’t made time for me. I’ve also learnt that I’m much more than my hair. If people can’t see past that, then I have no time for them.

My parting words of wisdom this week are to ensure you take time for you. Don’t get to such a point like I did. It wasn’t living. It was a stressful existence.

Grab your diary or calendar for this week and block in some time for you. Time for you to do what you want to. Let your partner, husband, mother, sister, brother or friend help you out. Insist they do. Do not feel guilty. Repeat after me, I WILL NOT FEEL GUILTY.
Drop me a line and let me know how you spent your “me” time! I’d love to hear all about it!

Jen xoxo
Linking up with Kristy of My Home Truths for I Must Confess.........


Monday, 17 June 2013

Age is only a number

I spent the day with my grandmother on Saturday. It was her 91st birthday. She looks good for her age. She has always looked after her skin and stayed out of the sun. She was a yoga lover and has passed this passion onto me.
My dad, auntie and I took her out for lunch to celebrate. As we were eating away, Nanna asked me if I would take her to Yoga with me. I nearly choked! I bluntly said, “no”. She then said defiantly she would take herself. I then explained that she hadn’t done yoga for years. About 20 to be exact. I also explained that no instructor would teach her as their insurance wouldn’t cover it.

I did admire Nanna. After two knee reconstructions, being legally blind and at the age of 91, she wants to do Yoga. Clearly her mind is strong and willing. But her body simply isn’t?
Every day of our lives we age just a little bit more. But it’s only a number. It shouldn’t define whether we can or can’t do something. It shouldn’t mean we are supposed to have done something or be at a certain point. It is simply a number which quite factually tells us how many years we have been on this earth.
I get frustrated when people state their age and then loudly complain of all the pains and aches as if they should have those given their age. If you let your age be a mental roadblock you’ll miss out on being in the moment. You’ll miss out on having fun.

As we travel along our life journey, we need to take what experiences are given to us, enjoy them and learn from them. Age doesn’t define where we should be or what we should be doing. We just need to do whatever makes us happy at whatever point that is. Sometimes our journey takes us to places and experiences we never thought we would ready for, no matter what our age.

It’s easy for people to say at 37 I should be married with children. I’m not. I’m not even close. I’m not worried because I’m quite content with where I am in my life. If it happens, then wonderful, if not, then it wasn’t meant to be. I’ll just take the road and see where it takes me.

Nanna wasn’t going to let her age stop her from doing something she was once so passionate about. Maybe I was ageist because I wouldn’t take her. The pot calling the kettle black.
Tell me, have you let age hold you back? Does age define you?

Jen xoxo

Embarassed Driver Coming Through!

Linking up with Kristy of My Home Truths for I Must Confess...This week it's all about embarrassing moments.

Embarassing moments are a plenty with me. It’s almost difficult to choose one. It's even embarrassing to let you know that there are quite a few. I’m just that sort of person. However....there is one I will share with you.

My dad was involved in motor racing and when I reached 18, I started to take an interest as well. I would go with him to all the race tracks and take my place in the pitts surveying all the action. I loved it. It was soooo much fun. Not to mention it was heavily male dominated and at 18, it was a wonderful smorgasboard for me to look at. I proudly wore the team uniform. Now, don’t get too excited, it was a pair of overalls covered with sponsors’ badges. Male overalls, in case you were wondering. King Gee didn’t make a female pair back then. I remember having to go up a size because overalls weren’t quite made for hips. Hippy hips at that.  

As we were always based in the pitt area, Dad always drove in and parked next to the team’s area. With any motor racing team, there is an amazing amount of equipment and vehicles. Trucks, buses, mobile workshops, trailors, this car and that car. Given the huge amount of vehicles, they were parked in like sardines. It was always inevitable that some vehicle needed to be moved. Remember that conversation from The Castle,
Darryl Kerrigan: Ay Steve, can you move the Camira? I need to get the Torana out to get to the Commodore.
Steve Kerrigan: Sure thing Dad, but I'll have to get the keys to the Cortina if I'm gunna move that Camira.
Darryl Kerrigan: Alright mate, just watch the boat

On this particular day many years ago, out at Oran Park (now a housing estate), vehicles needed to be moved and rearranged. Dad asked me if I could move our white commodore station wagon and park it under a carport. I particularly hated it when Dad asked me to do anything like moving the car out at the track. Every one watches and it feels like all eyes are on you just waiting for you to make a mistake.
I grabbed the keys and got into the car. Adjusted the seat and mirrors and started the engine. I put the car in reverse and proceeded to move the car backward and turn it into the new spot undercover. I didn’t have to move it far, the same distance as reversing out of a car spot at the shopping centre. Reverse out, turn and reverse a little more. It really wasn’t a complicated manoeuvre. It’s just I probably wasn’t completely concentrating and I was probably a little anxious from all the eyes watching me.

It’s embarrassing to say but I didn’t see the pole in the middle of the car port and reversed straight into it. I didn’t just catch the rear headlight or rear corner of the car, it wasn’t a little bump or dent but I clearly misjudged the WHOLE thing and the pole hit the back of the car, right in the middle. Everyone was watching. I mean EVERYONE. All our team which was about 20 members. There were also members of the public walking past. (I didn’t mention our team’s location was right in the middle of a main thoroughfare, the public had, HAD, to walk past.)
I wanted to die. Really!! Curl up and stay in the car forever. Evaporate into little particles and float out of the car then put myself together a million miles from there. Anywhere but be where I was. Of course, I still needed to get out of the car. Worse still, a million times worse was I had to face Dad. He even looked embarrassed as well. The most cringe-worthy part was he then told me off in front of everyone and asked me how I could I not see the pole. To make matters worse, I didn’t tell you but the pole was fairly small. If you join your thumbs together, join your pointer fingers together, they should form a circle, that was the size of the pole.

So...the only saving grace from this embarrassing situation is at least there was only a small dent in the back of the car and having a Dad that repaired race cars (considering the crashes they have) meant it wasn’t really all that bad. Dad was over it by the time we got home later that night. pride was very dented for weeks to come. It’s fair to say I missed the next race meeting, I think something important came up. Or did it?
Do you have an embarrassing driving story??? I’d love to hear it!!!

Jen xoxo

Monday, 10 June 2013

Hot Under The Collar About An 8.30am Start!

Linking up with Kristy at My Home Truths for this week's, I Must Confess. It's all about Pet Peeves and those things which really get you hot under the collar!
There's so many pet peeves that I could talk about but I've decided to keep it simple this week. I'll talk about my top 3 things which really get me fired up.
So from my least pet peeve to my top pet peeve, here they are:-

3. Complicated Recipes
I enjoy cooking. I really do. It’s therapeutic and fun. I like marvelling at the end result and get a sense of pride from what I have created. I especially like the eating part. That's probably my favourite bit. I'm not someone who can throw ingredients together and they just taste amazing. I need to follow a recipe or else it actually does taste like ingredients thrown together.
However, I am a simple gal, so the recipes that I usually cook from are fairly short in their steps. You see, any more than about 5 steps and it’s not pretty. I get agitated, frustrated and if something takes too long for me to make, then I lose interest. it's probably safe to say I would never go on Masterchef given those challenges seem to have super complicated recipes that make my head hurt. I think I’m best suited to being quality control and tasting the final products. Look out Matt Preston! Otherwise, keep it simple for Jen. Please!

2. An 8.30am start time at work
I’m not a morning person. I won’t apologise for it. It is just not in my DNA at all. I hate getting up early. I avoid it at all costs. I don’t usually really wake up until about 10.00am and that's after a very strong coffee to charge the batteries up. So having to get up at 6.00am each morning to get ready and catch the train to go to the city, is just not fun at all!! I love the weekend, when I can sleep in and relax. It would be perfect if the work day started at 10.00am. My body even agrees. It naturally wakes up around 9.00am when there are no alarm clocks. Morning people make me sick. It’s not something that I will ever be. Sleep-ins and 9.00am wake up calls are perfect for me.  
And it number 1 Pet Peeve............
1. Taxes
Yep....I hate paying tax of any sort, but more specifically, income tax. I’ve worked hard, damn hard. It’s my money and the government takes it away without my consent. I don’t think I signed anything or we mutually agreed. It's fair to say this arrangement was purely one-sided. Nope...the government just takes and then they go and spend it without consulting me as to how I would like it to benefit the economy. I don’t think I consented to mining taxes, Julia!
I also hate doing my tax at that dreaded time every year. It’s bloody annoying. I hate the whole thing. Making the appointment, going to the accountant, sifting through what I have earnt, receipts to claim and then .......(drum roll)....I either have to pay or get a ridiculously small amount back that will barely cover the groceries!! You know the old saying, ‘there’s two certainties in life, death and taxes.’
There you have it. My top 3 Pet Peeves! I have no doubt you can relate to them.
So tell me, how do you cope with early morning starts? How do you survive tax time and the trip to the Accountants?
Jen xox

Monday, 3 June 2013

I'm Famous but please call me Jen

Linking up with Kristy at My Home Truths for 'I Must Confess'. This week it's about baby names.

My mother always loved the name Julie. If she had a daughter, she was going to be called Julie. So when I arrived into the world, I was Julie for the first few days of my life. That is until she didn’t like how it sounded with my middle name. As I have her name, Barbara as my middle name, the fit needed to be just right. So she changed it. Jennifer it was. And still is!

There’s my confession. My mum changed my name. Crazy really. I’m not sure being called a Julie would have made any difference to my life. Let’s face it, people get used to a name. People would have gotten used to Julie being my first name. They wouldn’t have cared less whether it sounded good with my middle name. How often does anyone mention their middle name?

So given that I have lived my life as a Jennifer, it’s been fine. Well...sort of. You see, I hate my first name being used. Yep.......don’t ever call me Jennifer. I think it’s the weird psychological association with my parents using my full name when I was in trouble. So if you call me Jennifer, I think I’m in trouble. Stupid brain. Even at 37, that’s the connection my brain makes. Jennifer – Trouble.

Trouble aside, I’m fine with Jenny, Jen, Jen Jen, Jen Wren, Jenster or Jenna. Call me any of those and I’ll answer. Call me Jennifer and that might be the last time we talk. Ouch!!
I know I shouldn’t have an issue with it. But it’s the damn conditioning from my childhood. There are many Jennifer’s who proudly use their full name. Jennifer Aniston, Jennifer Lopez, Jennifer Hawkins and Jennifer Lawrence. They don’t seem to have any problems with the name in its entirety. It’s just me, I guess.

I’m even famous. Yep.....enter Jennifer Hale into Google and there are quite a few entries. Okay.....way more than a few.
 I’m even famous! So famous, I'm in Wikipedia. I didn’t realise I was a famous American Actress best known for voiceover work. I’m also a model. Who would have thought? Best of all, I am a reporter with Fox Sports and was voted number 16 in ‘The 20 Sexiest Sports Reporters of 2012’. Well....that would certainly help with the fellas, wouldn’t it!


Maybe being a Jennifer and more importantly, being Jennifer Hale, isn’t all that bad. case you are thinking you can use my full first name, just for the record let me make this clear, call me Jen. It's healthier for both of us.
Do you hate your full first name being used?

Jen xoxo

Monday, 20 May 2013

My Big Fat Addiction

I must confess. My name is Jenster (aka Jen) and I am a reality TV addict. I love it. Can’t get enough of it. I’m like an excited child as I scan TV guides and the internet to find out what is the next program I should be watching. I even get grumpy if I miss then.

Not so long ago, I would ensure I was at home at 2.00pm on a Sunday afternoon to watch a sappy, reality love show. I’m such a sucker for a girl finding her prince charming.
I even like, what I call, crazy famous reality TV, like Keeping up with the Kardashians, Real Housewives of Beverly Hills or New York or New Jersey or Orange County or Miami (I think you get the picture). I call them, crazy famous reality TV because it’s so far removed from reality, I can’t help but love it.

It would be my perfect job. Getting paid to watch reality TV. In fact, the more I think about, it wouldn’t really be a job. But wow.....I wouldn’t complain. I’ve been thinking about why I love it sooooo much. I think it’s something about watching everyday people being exposed in one way or another. I love the fights, the tantrums, the personality clashes, the tears and of course, the drama. I also love the highs. I laugh with them, tell them off, yell at them like a child, criticise their choices and of course, cry, no in fact, I bawl, with them. No matter what they do, I can’t turn away.
I must also confess my favourite is the love reality TV shows. The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, US versions of course. I especially love the Aussie program, Please Marry My Boy where mums picked lovely ladies for their sons all in the hope of finding “the one”.  What about Don’t Tell The Bride? I watched both the Aussie and UK versions. Just ridiculously fantastic!

Who could go past the discovery of a true star? You know, those shows where we are in awe of the talent and religiously watch them as every day people go on their journey to success. Shows such as American Idol, The Voice and So You Think You Can Dance. I just love watching people chase their dreams. I even feel a sense of pride watching them. It’s like they were my sister or brother. My heart even breaks for them.

But my all time favourite reality TV show is (drum roll please).......Big Fat Gypsy Weddings. What a sensationally crazy series that had me desperate for more! The dresses, tiaras and caravans. Oh and their dance moves......which even the young girls had mastered! I find it hard to comprehend their way of life. My life compared to theirs, polar opposites. I think that's why watching it was such a great escape!
Like any true addiction, I don’t think I can give it up. It’s a part of my life and when some shows are on, it’s ALL my life.

So why am I so addicted to reality TV? Because it’s -

R – reality. Well, sort of.
E – entertaining or escapism
A – absorbing
L – laughable
I – interesting
T – tempting and terrible all at the same time
Y – yearning (so 'y' was a little tricky, this should really be, a yearning)
T – therapy..........and last but not’s
V – vital (in my life anyway)
Off to watch some more......

Jenster xoxo

This week I am linking up with Kirsty at My Home Truths for "I must confess..."

Sunday, 5 May 2013

The Confidence to Be Me

Linking up with The Lounge with the theme, "What did you think you would be better at by now?"

Well, don’t just start with the hard questions The Lounge! If you had started with “What did I want to be when I grew up?” that would be much easier. But alas, you threw a curve ball and threw it hard!

I remember being a child and thinking I was going to be better at almost everything. You name it and I was going to be better than anyone else at it. It’s fair to say I was a dreamer as a child. Every child should have dreams. I couldn’t narrow mine down to one.
As I grew older, dreamer became idealist and I was always focused on the next thing. The ‘when I’ way of thinking. You know, when I lose weight I will be more attractive. When I have clear skin, I will feel better. When I get my degree, I will be happier. It’s that unrealistic attainment of something happening and things will be better than they are now.

I think that’s why I thought by now I would be better at having the confidence to be me. Accepting myself, flaws and all. As I rapidly approach 37, it’s not like this has suddenly come about. I have always struggled to accept myself. It’s called a lack of self confidence and what a mother fucker that thing is!!!
Being confident in my own skin. It’s a brutal battle between me and confidence. The older I get, the more I seem to win. Lately, I have won more times than I have lost. Some battles are just plain bloody and full of desperation to allow a mere shred of confidence to shine through. Some battles aren’t even battles. It’s like confidence showed up in its armour and killed everything around it. It’s those times when I am full of confidence that I am comfortable being me. However, it’s the times when I don’t have to battle that I get ahead of myself and think it’s not really an issue at all. Clearly, the universe never likes this approach and sends me something to send me back to reality. It’s then I realise I still have a bit of work to do on this confidence thing.

I always hoped confidence would land in my lap. Kind of like my prince charming. Plonk and confidence is there. Not sort of there, not half there, but 100% fully there. But really, if confidence was 100% there, then that wouldn’t give me any challenge now, would it?
As they say, it’s the journey not the destination. When I look back, I am proud of me. Proud of the obstacles that I have encountered and survived. Proud of what I have learnt about myself. I have become a better person for what I have experienced.

With each experience I learn a bit more about me. With each experience comes a little bit more confidence. It’s each experience that awakens a bit more inside of me. It’s these experiences I should be grateful for. To quote  Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose:-

“Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness. How do you know this is the experience you need? Because this is the experience you are having at the moment. “

One day I will get there. One day I will have the confidence to be me. Until then, I will have plenty of new and rich experiences to enjoy.
What experiences have you found most valuable in understanding you?


Sunday, 21 April 2013

The Value of Being a Good Person

Reading The Sunday Telegraph’s Sunday Style magazine , I was moved by Sally Obermeder’s story about stage 3 breast cancer. Whilst her amazing strength, determination and positivity are an inspiration to all of us, it was her comment about being a good person which struck a chord in me. In case you missed it, here it is:-
“Having this disease made me realise it’s not about how much you tick off your to-do list, it’s about whether or not you’re a good person.” 

These simple words of Sally’s are extremely powerful. Her focus is now on the quality of person she wants to be and not about all those achievements. I wondered how we can get this message out there to more people.

I’ve struggled with the concept of being a good person. I like to think on most days, I am pretty good and treat people as I wish to be treated. I am by no means perfect. For me, it will always be a continual process and reminding myself to look for the good not only in myself but others.
Sometimes I struggle to find the good in others. In fact, I believe there is no good in some people. You meet these people from time to time and they simply drag you down. They want to pick apart every single thing you do and even when you are being a good person, doing good things, they take every ounce of goodness that you had.

They give you a reason to hate and to never want to trust anyone again. They make you ask yourself the question, “What is the purpose of being good?”
I believe life is short. Too short. We won’t always agree with everyone and everything in our life. However, we shouldn’t hold on to bitterness. Bitterness blinds us from seeing clearly. Isn’t it easier to try to get along and at least be polite and civil to each other?

If we are not being a good person, then are we the opposite, a ‘bad’ person?
What do we gain from being ‘bad’ to others? Is it that we are harbouring emotions, so deep and so entrenched that we are unable to see anything for what it truly is?

I believe that emotion blinds us, it can take over and make us become people we don’t recognise. People we aren’t always proud of. Maybe even ‘bad’ people, even if only for a moment. A moment is sometimes all it takes.
Is there ever any good that comes from being ‘bad’? Ironic, isn’t it. Is it that in sucking the goodness from us, these people become satisfied?

Satisfied they have hurt others.
What is being a good person?

I think it’s being a mature adult. I think it’s learning to move on, however hard that may be. I think it’s trying to learn to accept each other for who they are. I think it’s remembering who you are and where you came from. I think it’s something that is built into your value set. I think it’s being kind to others. I think from being good, comes love. Love for yourself and love for others.
My journey in being a good person is exactly that, a journey. There is no destination. It’s a continual process which requires a deep commitment. It also requires resilience, to never let those ‘bad’ people suck all my goodness away.

And sometimes I need those around me to remind me that being good is worth more to me than being ‘bad’.
I hope you are being good or at least, trying to be. It all comes down to what you want to remembered for in this world, your list of achievements or whether or not you’re a good person.

So tell me, what is your definition of being a good person?
Get on Facebook & Twitter and spread the word #goodperson
Jen xo

Monday, 15 April 2013

Toilet Talk - The one question that needs to be asked!

A time old question. A debate that spans the world and ignites the great toilet debate. Posteriors poised and four ply ready.
This is the sort of question that requires courage a plenty to ask. And by courage, I mean alcoholic courage. Name your beverage, drink it and ask away.
So what is it, you ask? Are you a scruncher or a folder?
I guess the answer to this lies in the generational gift given to you by your parents. After all, they toilet trained you.
I think what you are, can tell so much about a person.
A folder can be described as a meticulous person, detailed focused, neat, orderly, dedicated and committed. Someone who can take too long to do something (let’s think of the extra time they take on the loo as they fold away).
A scruncher, on the other hand, can be a bit dishevelled, efficient, haphazard in their approach, chaotic at times, but most importantly, resourceful.
Yes, this is a crazy post. But aren’t you the least bit curious?
Maybe this is something that we should declare on our drivers licence. Why not? We have lots of other important information on there, so one more bit won’t matter.
I can see it now. Address. Check. Phone. Check. Date of birth. Check. Folder or Scruncher. Check.
I wonder what the bouncers would say in nightclubs as they checked your ID for entry.
“ID please”. “Sorry, you’re a scruncher, not coming in. Goodbye.”
It would almost be worth me re-living my nightclub days just to see this.
What about when you go to RSL’s and Sports Clubs now? They take your licence and scan it, giving you a wonderful print out of all your personal information. When there’s a queue, that’s how they can divide you!
“Scrunchers to the left, Folders to the right.”
So, do you know what I am yet?
Being in HR, it would be a great question for job application forms. There it is, staring down at your potential company, etched in ink, sitting in your personnel file for years to come. It will almost certainly take discrimination to a new level. The legal world will have their posteriors parted. Pardon the pun.
I know you are going to look at people quite differently. The curiousity inside you will simply be too intense.
Maybe we should all swap. That would be a posterior pandemic. Folders should become scrunchers and scrunchers should become folders. Embrace change, I say!
What about the gender debate. Are there more women folders than men folders? Or does one gender favour one method over another?
Whilst I am on a question roll (another pun), let’s not stop there. Why not ask more?
Do you have a certain sheet limit? That’s right. How many sheets do you use?
I think that question and so much more is for another day. what am I?
I’ll leave that thought with you.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

The Day I Tried Yoga

I enjoy exercise. Weird, I know. I’m certainly no athlete but push myself to workout as I know how good I feel afterwards. Lately, I have struggled with motivation. However, I figure if I am going to sit on the lounge and watch TV, then I may as well do it on the bike at the gym. So far, that’s working fine.
However as the big 4-0 rapidly approaches, my body seems to crave stretching. It may be more that I can’t exercise to the intensity that I used to, but that’s the line I’m going with. Muscles ache and tense up a little more than they used to and flexibility simply isn’t what it used to be. Potentially the flexibility was never there to begin with, but I’m blaming age!
So in order to assist my maturing body, I decided a little Yoga might help. That and of course as all good personal trainers and exercise books recommend to incorporate some sort of stretching into your training, I thought this would be a winner.

After doing an exhaustive amount of research, yes, probably not necessary but a classic procrastination tactic of mine, I decided on a studio. With an extra hours sleep for my body and a dinner full of garlic the night before, I set off for my first class. I was hoping there was no partner work required given the dinner consumed the night before.
I got to the studio in plenty of time, which is quite unlike me. I walked nervously up the stairs and was welcomed by the lovely instructor who took my money. She kindly suggested I find a spot near the front of the class so she can help me. Look let’s face it, any first-timer to anything will tell you, we usually try to be anywhere but the front of the class so we can pretend to be inconspicuous and well, hide.

I took my shoes and socks off, grabbed a mat and walked into the room. I then heard the instructor say, “you’ll need a block and a strap”. As a first time yogi, I was most concerned. This was yoga I had come to, wasn’t it? Or were going to be re-enacting a scene from “Fifty Shades of Grey” and Christian Grey is suddenly going to appear. Now there’s a wonderful, lustful thought! Anyway, not quite sure what I would need a block and a strap for however a lovely other yogi assisted me with locating these intriguing items.
Sitting on my mat waiting for the class to being, I suddenly chastised myself. Looking down at my embarrassingly dreadful feet, how could I come to yoga with feet like these? Where do I start?

Firstly, the old nail polish hadn’t quite been removed so the toes were looking quite scrappy with the last remaining scatters of colour on the toes. Secondly, thanks to some inherited bunions, there was some gross dead skin which I hadn’t pumiced off in probably quite a few months. Thirdly, I now need to remind myself that a razor should extend to the toes and not just finish at the ankles. They weren’t gorilla toes, but there were a couple of hairs which were probably not for exposing in such an environment as this.
At least the rest of me was okay. Though I was a little concerned at the ¾ tights I had on, as my muffin top has a tendency to spill out at very inappropriate times.

So beauty feet faux pas aside... The class commences with some gentle breathing to focus yourself. I surprised myself by managing to forget I was at the front of the class and under the watchful eye of the instructor. However, the mind wandered a little as the little voice in my head kept thinking about the coffee I would be having after the class. Focus Jen...back to the class....listen to the instructor. Where were we?
That’s right, we then loosened our shoulders, arms, wrists and ankle joints. I was introduced to various poses such as downward dog, warrior 1, garland pose, bridge pose and one-legged King Pigeon Pose (which I loved although my hips were as tight as a camels arse in a sandstorm). One stretch which involves bringing the knee to the chest and taking it slightly out to the side, is apparently particularly good for bloating. You’ll be pleased to know there were no “good vibrations” omitted when performing this pose. I bet if you ask a yoga teacher, there’s a “good vibration” story in all of them.

I always judge how I am going as a newbie in a class by how many times the instructor feels the need to correct me. Well, I am very proud to report I was only corrected once. Yep, that’s right, just a mere one time only during the class. Clearly a natural, wouldn’t you think?
I hear you asking, what did you use the block for? The block was used when we performed the bridge pose. Lying on your back, with knees bent and heels drawn close to your buttocks, hands flat on the floor by your sides. You press down through your feet to lift your buttocks off the floor, while pushing your arms into the floor and extending through your fingertips. You then place the block (on it’s side) under your buttocks to provide support. Simple really!

Now the strap was used like a personal trainer to assist when stretching your hamstrings. I have used a towel before at the gym, to extend the stretch and ensure I am really feeling it.
We did some interesting breathing where we closed one nostril, inhaled through the other, then closed that nostril, open the other nostril and exhaled. This could have been a frightfully embarrassing experience with snot snorted in all directions. I am pleased to report this was not the case.

The last part of the class was some meditation with focus on the breath and the chant of the classic word, “om” to completely relax the mind and body.
In the end, my body felt relaxed and muscles stretched to alleviate any tension. I can only describe the feel ing afterwards as complete bliss and a sense of calmness felt which is both refreshing and invigorating. Rest assured my body was ever so thankful for the session and I have to say, a potential yoga devotee is on the way.

(Always consult your doctor before commencing any exercise program).
Jenster xoxo

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Eggscellent Easter - Why Easter is better than Christmas!

I love Easter. I love it more than Christmas. Shock! Gasp! Apologies to all the Christmas lovers out there.
For me, Easter is such a fun time. Don’t get me wrong, Christmas is still fun but on a different level. Easter is Christmas without the steroids, not to mention without all the painful relatives and stressful present shopping. Oh, and one more very important thing, without the cost. Calm down Christmas lovers, Christmas is wonderful, it’s just I like Easter better.

So I thought I would put together my top 10 reasons why Easter is better than Christmas.
10.        You get to eat chocolate.

Look, there is still chocolate at Christmas but there’s also so many other traditional foods which we indulge in. At Easter, you actually have a license to eat chocolate. All forms, all shapes and all sizes. Amen!
9.          The Sydney Royal Easter Show comes into town.

Okay, so this one is specific to the Sydneysiders but for those of you who aren’t a Sydneysider, it’s worth visiting Sydney to experience the Show.  This annual show is a smorgasbord of rides, food, show bags, animals, fashion, gizmos and gadgets. For many, a visit to the show is an annual ritual stemming from their childhood days. My favourite part of the show is the wood chopping. Oh and ladies, the wood chopping will be displaying some mighty fine eye candy this year.
8.          You get four days off work.

Whoohoo!!! Good Friday, Easter Saturday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday. See with Christmas, it’s a bit hit and miss with the public holidays. Some years you get four days, some years only three and shock, horror, some years only two! Whereas with Easter, it’s a guaranteed four days every year. Some years, there’s even a bonus day if Easter falls late and around Anzac Day. All this without having to dip into your Annual leave. Really couldn’t be better.
7.          Hot Cross Buns (HCB's)

There’s nothing better than this seasonal tasty treat toasted with butter and jam. I know the fitness freaks and nutrition nuts are cringing right now. They’re yelling out how many calories are in a HCB and how many minutes of exercise it takes to burn off before this doughy delight dimples my thighs. So to them I say, “Dimples come forth, I’ve got 11 months to get rid of you!”. With HCB’s in so many varieties, it’s a guilty pleasure I’m proud to announce I indulge in. Before I move on to the next point, let me be clear, there are no HCB’s at Christmas.
6.          The Easter Bunny

This is the wonderful white fluffy bunny which comes to your house bearing lots of chocolate. Unlike Santa Claus this one doesn’t need any food left out. This is a great thing if you are parents. The Easter Bunny doesn’t find out if you’re naughty or nice. It doesn’t matter what you have been like, you still get chocolate anyway! Okay, the Easter Bunny doesn’t leave you as many presents as Santa Claus. But let me re-emphasise something, the bunny leaves you chocolate. What more do you need? Plus, mothers and children take note, there are no photos required on anyone’s knees. No child tantrums or mothers nagging as they insist on capturing that precious moment with Santa Claus. We all know those moments end in tears for everyone concerned.

5.          No cards need to be sent

How good is this! There’s no need to send any cards at Easter wishing friends and family, Happy Easter. Unlike at Christmas, where this process can be somewhat excruciating. Generally the annual Christmas Card writing process requires several alcoholic beverages and you painstakingly write cards to friends and family, wishing them ‘Happy Christmas’ and ‘All the best for the festive season’ and apologising for the fact it is now the end of year and you simply don’t know where the time has gone. Easter saves you from this laborious task and gives you back these precious moments of time to spend in much more interesting ways.
4.          Easter is cheaper

Unless you are a family which gives presents at Easter, generally the cost of chocolate in comparison to the cost of the average present at Christmas, is significantly cheaper. When you think of all the presents you buy at Christmas, it adds up and makes a pretty big dent in the credit card. Chocolate, by comparison is much cheaper and makes people feel much better.
3.          Chocolate takes up less space than Christmas presents

You know what it’s like. You have received some wonderful (or not so wonderful) presents and then you need to find room to put them all. Quite often, Christmas presents are just shoved in any old cupboard and only dealt with when you have a space crisis. Of course, a space crisis will occur the next Christmas when you face the same problem. The only room chocolate takes up is in your fridge and once you have eaten it, you get the space back. It’s a win, win situation really.  
2.          You don’t have to fake present happiness at Easter

We have all been there. Some relative (or friend) gives you a Christmas gift and it’s horrible. It’s so awful you don’t even think it will make the back of the cupboard. I mean, have you ever been unhappy receiving chocolate? No, not really. Plus, if you have received too much chocolate you simply take it in to work and let your colleagues feast on this delicious goodness. They will love you for it. A little hard to do with a crappy Christmas present.
1.         Easter Egg Hunts

Waking up on Easter morning and finding the Easter bunny has left trail of Easter Eggs which sends you all over the house and backyard. I love it! You are never too old for an Easter Egg hunt. Although things can turn messy if one child finds more eggs than the other child. Enter parents who have to step in and gently assist one child to find those tricky few eggs and hold back the other. With adults, it can turn downright ugly with competitive spirits in full action. It’s better than fighting over the last bit of pork crackling and much more interesting. Santa Claus doesn’t send you on a present hunt. No, this old guy just sticks all the presents’ in one spot. Now that’s not much fun is it?

Happy Easter everyone.

Monday, 11 March 2013

A Tweetastic Impression of 140 Seconds!

Let’s face it, first impressions count. It doesn’t matter what the occasion, the all important first impression is really critical. Whether you are meeting someone for the first time, presenting to a new client or in a job interview, these situations whilst send some of us into a nervous blubbering mess, are where we really need to impress. Sweaty palms aside, what you say, how you look and whether you turned up on time are a few of things which can leave a lasting impression.

As someone who works in HR and interviews for a living, I can tell you first impressions in a job interview are important to the product you are selling, yourself. So if you think it’s appropriate to chew gum, answer your phone or worse still, talk on your phone while the interview is in progress, it’s safe to say you will leave an impression, however it may not be the one you were hoping for.

Nowadays, impressions aren’t only face to face. Enter the era of social media. Through the realms of social space, first impressions are through words or pictures broadcast to our fellow facebook friends and twitter followers. On Facebook we find friends, like friends, like pages, and post on walls. On Twitter, we tweet away, retweet and hashtag trends all in 140 characters. It’s very simply, the world we live in. So when Pizza Hut combined a job interview with Twitter, I for one, thought it was genius!

So what is this genius? It’s a job interview where the candidates only have 140 seconds to sell themelves. It’s Tweetastic!  That’s right, Pizza Hut are after a Manager of Digital Media based out of Plano, Texas, and what better than to bring together the way we communicate on twitter today with a 140 second job interview. Since the job is all about social space, it’s quite a fitting approach for candidates to show their skills in a fun, concise way. This is all about first impressions, because 140 seconds is all you will have to make yours!

Oh....and what hashtag are Pizza Hut trending with this campaign #becauseimgreat   

So social media maestros, what would your 140 second spiel be to impress?  



Saturday, 2 March 2013

Freaky Fashion Falls: These cringe-worthy moments don’t define you, how you recover does!

Women and girls of all ages love fashion. Our commitment and dedication to fashion plus our desire to snare a bargain drives us to become scary creatures that even we don’t recognise. What’s more, our love of fashion and of snaring a bargain means we sometimes end up with purchases that sit at the back of the wardrobe for ‘maybe I’ll wear it one day’ or ‘I’ll fit into it when I lose some weight’. Quite possibly, we didn’t even need what we purchased however the bargain was simply too amazing for us to do anything other than buy it. But more often than not, we will wear the item even if it’s just once. Purchased justified and we look good.

Ah, that’s right, looking good. Well, it’s fair to say we don’t want to just ‘look good’, we want to look amazing and to look amazing, we need shoes. Possibly the terms shoes isn’t acceptable. We need the most stunning, fabulous and highest pair of stilettos, pumps, peeptoes or anything else that takes our fancy and completes our outfit. Now, I’m going to say it to all the women out there, some of us (me particularly) completely missed the high heel gene. Yep, it passed right over to the next girl and left me wondering whether I would ever be able to walk without falling over and embarrassing myself. That brings me to “The Fall”.

The Fall. Definition by Jenster: An utterly embarrassing and awkward moment that changes the colour of a woman’s face. In the worst falls, they can actually tear ligaments, sprain or break an ankle or other bones. In short, the fall is every gals worst nightmare. It’s that moment when hours of hair and makeup together with the perfect outfit, gets overshadowed by a cringe-worthy moment which people around you always remember more than your dress, hair or makeup. It’s that moment when every gal wants to run and hide. We want to hit the rewind button and erase the moment altogether. Of course these moments can sometimes be helped along with a drink or two or three, but that’s a whole other topic for discussion.
Enter The Recovery. Definition by Jenster: The period of time immediately following the fall. This is the time when we need to recover from the most cringe-worthy moment and continue on. It can be quite a character defining moment. There are those gals who over dramatise the situation and send for ice and chair because the pain is too much. There are those gals who get themselves up and run and hide for the rest of the event. Then there are those gals who get themselves up or better still, accept help from those around them to get up. Once they are up, they simply laugh it off and confidently carry on.
Enter Jennifer Lawrence at The Oscars. Every woman watching cringed at that moment when she fell. Now, I’m not sure whether she fell because of the shoes or the dress or she simply missed a step, but whatever it was she HAD to continue on. She had a gold statue waiting for her. Not to mention all the eyes of Hollywood on her. Let’s face it ladies, most of us could continue on in any situation if Hugh Jackman gave us a helping hand. However, aside from Hugh helping her, Jennifer recovered and continued on with humility and maturity beyond her years. The fact she can laugh about it also suggests a comfortable confidence with herself. Go Jennifer!
Note to all of us ladies out there, that’s how to recover from a freaky fashion fall.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

FEAR - Face, Embrace, Achieve, Relieve

Fear. This four letter word can create the greatest obstacles in our life. It's the roadblock which stops us in our tracks.

Fear affects people in many ways. For some, it drives them to achieve things that make them a better person. For others, it holds them back and becomes a mountain which they simply avoid climbing.
It’s important to remember fear is a natural emotion. It’s okay to feel fear. It pushes and challenges you to be more than you already are. What’s not okay, is to let fear hold you back from the experiences and feelings it brings you. 

When you fear something, you need to ask yourself why? What is it about the situation you are fearing? As humans, we are the most amazing creatures. We have such strength and resilience in our character, we aren’t even aware of. We really don’t know what we are capable of until we push ourselves past the barrier we have created, due to fear. To make it crystal clear, you need to face your fear!
Everything in life which we fear has an outcome. We can succeed or we can fail. (There’s alot more to categorising outcomes as success or failure, however for a simplistic approach, we’ll keep it to these two.) Neither success or failure is better. Sometimes it’s the failures which teach us the most about ourselves. On the other hand, we love the successes as they give us confidence to move forward. They fill us with self-belief and encourage us to continue moving forward. Either way, embracing fear allows us to learn something.

Every time we learn something, we achieve. Learning is a life-long journey for everyone. Learning and achieving go hand in hand. As humans, we like to achieve and we like the feelings achievement brings. We are always a better person for having had the experience.
This brings us to the feeling experienced after you have conquered the fear. Relieved! You breathe a sigh of relief and your heart rate returns to normal. The butterflies in the stomach subside and the body calms down. You feel a sense a pride in having pushed yourself through the situation. You feel like you can take on anything. It’s true satisfaction.

I’ll never understand why some of us can push ourselves to face our fears and why some of us simply turn in the other direction. It seems all too hard for them. I’ll admit, it sometimes takes me a while to get the courage to face my fear, however I do get there in the end. I think focusing on the end, is key for me. Thinking of the end and how I’ll feel makes me want to push myself and be a better person than I am today.